Today I Learned How to Sound ‘Nautical’

16 Jun

Did you know that the old saying ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea’ is probably nautical (yah, right….like the phrase ‘deep blue sea’ doesn’t give that away). “The ‘devil’ was the longest seam on the wooden ship and caulking was done with ‘pay’ or pitch. This grueling task of paying the devil (as in ‘paying the devil his due’) was despised by every seaman and the expression came to denote any unpleasant task”.  So, choosing between the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ was a reference to the poor sailor who had to dangle from a bunch of ropes, with the surging seas below him, trying to get pitch into the thin seam on the edge of the boat, between the wood and the ocean…

….and that’s what I have been doing the past few days! …only, without the ‘deep blue sea’ part. I have been working on the gunwhale (also spelled ‘gunwale’ and pronounced ‘gunnal’). If you don’t know what a gunwhale/gunwale is, Wikipedia has supplied the following image:

Bushranger doesn’t look exactly like this, but the shape is pretty close.

The gunwhale is the top edge of the side of the boat.  Bushranger’s gunwhale is made of teak.  This wooden rail was in desperate need of a new line of caulk, which I was happy to supply. While I was at it (and sitting on top of a large blue ladder, rather than hanging suspended over the ‘deep blue sea’ like the poor sailors of old) I also caulked all the engine vents and the hawsepipes.

My caulking is the white line that is under the top line of wood….it’s hard to see, sorry.

What is a hawsepipe, you ask? It’s the silver ring that kind of looks like a window without any glass. It’s used for ropes and stuff (okay, for ‘lines’ and stuff…. you nautical types should be quite happy with this blog entry.  It’s just chock full of nautical terms).

As for my captain, Boyd has been putting the finishing touches on the holding tank’s platform, and doing a bit of painting prep for the actual installation of the holding tank. He is also updating the various lights on the boat (when we bought Bushranger, she had various lights that were a bit ‘sus’ – one was blocked by the radar, and another was sitting on a cracked piece of wood on the stern essentially blocked by the dinghy (you ‘all remember what a dinghy is, don’t you?  It’s that little boat that you stick on the back of your bigger boat and use when that bigger boat just won’t do (like if you’re going to a party or sinking or something)).

Bad thought to end on…forget I mentioned ‘sinking’.  Think happy thoughts.

6 Responses to “Today I Learned How to Sound ‘Nautical’”

  1. pat merten June 17, 2012 at 13:19 #

    Your blog is so entertaining! Never thought I’d see the day when you would be explaining nautical speak. Just goes to show that, for the right price, we can all be bought.

  2. jdepodwin June 17, 2012 at 20:30 #

    Sending only positive vibes your way! Wow…impressive nautical “speak!”

    • The Robinsons June 17, 2012 at 21:48 #

      I think I have been unduly influenced by my navy connections….

  3. Bro June 22, 2012 at 02:09 #

    Hey Boydie, when do you put “to sea”…………… the Northern summer is already here and you don’t want to “miss the boat”

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